Minister’s Comment Against Protest Rally Creates Stir in Greece



filis-nikos-edrano-708Education Minister Nikos Filis called the upcoming protest rally of the “Resign!” movement as “verging on the limits of constitutional tolerance.”

The minister’s comment created a stir with the rally organizers claiming that Filis is trying to ban the rally, or undermine it by using shameless propaganda methods.

The “Resign!” rally is scheduled to take place on June 15 at Syntagma Square, across from the Greek Parliament. It is a non-partisan citizens’ movement that calls on the government to resign for bringing Greece to the brink of bankruptcy and out of the European Union.

“In my opinion, this is a movement verging on the limits of constitutional tolerance,” Filis said on Alpha radio on Wednesday.

The minister questioned the legitimacy of the “Resign!” movement and expressed suspicions that it is part of a wider effort to undermine the leftist government. He said it is a democratic right to protest but it is not democratic to twist what government officials say and call people to protest. He further said that similar clandestine activities take place in Spain, where the leftist Podemos party is gaining pace and might end up forming government with other leftist forces.

Main opposition party New Democracy issued a statement saying that, “All Greek citizens have the right to protest within the law… (Filis and SYRIZA) realize that it is their policies and attitudes that cause society’s reactions.” In a later statement, the conservative party calls on the education minister to resign.

“Resign!” rally organizers said in social media that the Filis reaction exposes the authoritarian methods and beliefs of the government, while stressing the fact that the education minister of the SYRIZA government doesn’t even hold a college degree.

The organizers also stress the fact that after the interventions in the justice system, in media operations, the government now tries to abolish the right to protest. Finally, they accuse the SYRIZA administration for promoting class hatred and vindictiveness.